Rene never expected to be swept away by the barefooted, inked musician who quietly took a seat on the small stage at a local bar and unleashed sensual music that made Rene ache to meet the man. Nor did he appreciate being blocked by the hulking bodyguard who refused to allow him backstage. Needless to say, Rene put Gavin out of his mind until he saw him again and this time without his bodyguard. With his attraction undeniable, Rene recognized that Gavin needs to take things very slow. Not only that, but Rene can sense the submissive inside Gavin who is yearning for a firm hand—one that Rene is very eager to offer. So begins a courtship of sorts that ends up racing ahead despite both men assuring the other that slow is best. There is an undeniable need inside both Rene and Gavin that can only be met by being with each other as Dom and submissive and Rene is willing to go whatever speed he must in order to make Gavin his boy forever.
Inked Music is a love story. It’s a novel of second chances and healing from trauma that links a rather gentle and tamer BDSM lifestyle than author Sean Michael is known for to the pursuit of healing and a new life for Gavin. Despite it being ‘BDSM-lite,’ the way the author presents their attraction and tentative partnership is really effective in revealing just how wounded Gavin is and how much he needs to feel safe before ever considering a relationship with another Dom.
Having been stalked, kidnapped, and tortured, Gavin lives a life in fear and hides in the shadows, barely going out except to occasionally play in a small bar when the need to perform takes over and forces him onto the stage again. He is not exactly content to hide in his home with his best friends, twin bodyguards, Dev and Silas, but after the life-altering trauma that exposed his kink and left him without a master, it is safer just to be alone. But Rene is so appealing and Gavin’s inner submissive is drawn to the strong, yet gentle man.
There is no great angst in this novel, nor are there any earth shattering revelations about Gavin’s past trauma. Instead, we get snippets of the past and only know that it has left Gavin unalterably changed and fearful. In some ways, I wish the author had taken just a bit more time to give us a broader picture of Gavin’s former life. I think it would have made for a richer novel and evoked more of an emotional response from me for this guy if I had gotten the full story of how famous a musician he was and how this stalker finally managed to kidnap and torture him. As is, I felt we got only a glimpse of Gavin’s past and what drove him to be so closed off from the world.
I felt Rene was a much broader character and one that was pretty much an open book and I enjoyed that about him. I also liked how he had plans for their partnership, but wanted to essentially start from scratch with a contract and safe words in order to make Gavin feel as relaxed as possible in assuming the role of his submissive again. Rene was focused on Gavin’s well-being and that played out beautifully in this story.
Inked Music by Sean Michael is a slow burning love story that centers on creating the best life for someone you love and cherish. With no big reveals or heavy angst, this is a gentle novel that explores a re-awakening of desire within the bounds of a Dom/sub relationship.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.